Variance in Appearance by Country

appearance

The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. 20% of the index is based on demographics. 20% of a country’s demographic score (4% of the overall Country Similarity Index score) is allocated for general appearance. Appearance included 4 major statistics: Average Gender, Average Age, Average Height and Average Weight. The following is an explanation on how they were calculated:

Gender

Some countries have much higher amounts of males compared to females, while other countries have more females than males. Qatar has the most males per female in the world, with a staggering 77% of the country being male. In general, the wealthy countries in the Arabian Peninsula have the most males. This is due to a large influx of immigrant construction workers to the country. There is no country in the world with such a large imbalance in the female side, however certain nations do have more women than men. The African country of Djibouti has the lowest percentage of men with just 45%. Despite this anomaly, rates are typically lowest in countries of the former Soviet Union. This usually stems from men dying early due to violence, drugs, and poor working conditions.

The CIA World Factbook was the source of the data: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/351.html

The countries were categorized into the following categories by % of females:
20-25%, 25-30%, 30-35%, 35-39%, 40-43%, 43-46%, 46-49%, 49-51%, 51-53%, 53-54%, 54-55%

Age

The average age of people in countries can be drastically different. Japan has the oldest population with the average person being 48.6 years old. However most of the oldest countries are in Europe. This is due to low birth rates and long life expectancies. In contrast, Niger has the youngest population with the average person being less than 15 years old. Like Niger, most of the youngest countries are located in Africa. This is due to high birth rates and low life expectancies.

The CIA World Factbook was the source of the data: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/fields/343rank.html

The countries were categorized into the following categories by average age:
11.5-15, 15-18.5, 18.5-22, 22-25.5, 25.5-29, 29-32.5, 32.5-36, 36-39.5, 39.5-43, 43-46.5, 46.5-50

Height

The average height of a person doesn’t vary as drastically as age. Still, there are significant differences between countries. The average man in the Netherlands is 1.82 meters tall, while the average man in Yemen is only 1.59 meters tall. This is due to a mix of genetics and nutrition. Wealthy European countries tend to be the tallest, while poorer Southeast Asian countries tend to be the shortest.

The NCD Risk Factor Collaboration was the source of the data: http://ncdrisc.org/height-mean-map.html

The countries were categorized into the following categories by average male height in centimeters:
157.75-160, 160-162.25, 162.25-164.5, 164.5-166.75, 166.75-169, 169-171.25, 171.25-173.5, 175.75-178, 178-180.25, 180.25-182.5

Weight

Since height and weight correlate with each other, body mass index was used instead of simply average weight. Samoa, located in the Pacific Ocean, actually has the men with the highest body mass index in the world with 30.6 kilograms per meter. However, in general the wealthier country, the more likely they will have a high body mass index. Poorer, less well fed countries tend to have a lower body mass. Ethiopian men are the skinniest in the world with an average of 20.1 kilograms per meter.

The NCD Risk Factor Collaboration was the source of the data:
http://ncdrisc.org/bmi-mean-map.html

The countries were categorized into the following categories by average male body mass index in kilograms per meter:
20-21, 21-22, 22-23, 23-24, 24-25, 25-26, 26-27, 27-28, 28-29, 29-30, 30-31

Calculation Method

Countries in different categories get partial credit if they are close to other categories. See the following examples:

Example 1: A country with 49-51% of females compared to a country of 51-53% would score 9 out of 10 points, whereas a country with 49-51% of females compared to a country of 35-39% would score 6 out of 10 points.

Example 2: A country with an average age of 11.5-15 compared to a country with an average age of 46.5-50 would score 0 out of 10 points, whereas a country with an average age of 11.5-15 compared to a country with an average age of 39.5-43 would score 2 out of 10 points.

Obviously there is no one clear way to determine how similar one country is to another. How would you quantify how similar one country is to another?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.

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